The 2023 NFL playoffs have gone from 14 teams alive for Super Bowl 57 to just eight. The first set of six games during the wildcard weekend had predictable results for the biggest favorites, with two narrowly escaping. The trio of Tossup games went in a different direction, with the underdogs all winning.
This leads to four exciting and closer matchups for the Divisional Round. The two top bye-week teams, the Chiefs and the Eagles, will serve as hosts. The Jaguars, Giants and Buccaneers will all look hot while the Bengals and Bills get the game they didn’t have in Week 17, only this time in Buffalo.
Here are the latest tips and predictions against the spread:
(Betting odds courtesy of Sports Interaction)
NFL POWER RANKINGS: New rankings for the eight remaining teams in the playoffs
NFL playoff picks, predictions against the spread
NFC Game of the Week: #5 Cowboys at #2 49ers (-4, 46 o/u)
Sunday 6:30 p.m. ET, Fox
The 49ers and the Cowboys were the only teams to record overwhelming victories in the wildcard round, with San Francisco delivering at home and Dallas doing it on the road. Brock Purdy and Dak Prescott are the hottest QBs going into the divisional round. Nick Bosa and Micah Parsons were also the respective leaders of wicked defensive performances.
The 49ers are on an 11-game winning streak and have the greater depth and variety of offensive weapons around Purdy. They also have an important home and rest advantage. Christian McCaffrey and the game in progress give San Francisco the advantage, to the point where they comfortably take control in the fourth quarter.
Choose: 49ers win 31-24 and cover the spread.
AFC Game of the Week: No. 3 Bengals at No. 2 bills (-5, 50.5 o/u)
Sunday 3 p.m. ET, Fox
The Bengals like to be a through team, despite Joe Mixon. The Bills like to be a passing team, although they sometimes have a strong traditional rushing attack. That means this game boils down to a classic QB duel between Joe Burrow and Josh Allen.
Burrow has been more concerned about spreading the ball lately and not forcing the ball deep when games aren’t around. Allen has torn his large arm and also thrown himself around his large body in scrambles. This game comes down to QB being better at protecting the ball with two offensive lines that struggle at times.
Burrow will be more effective on short to medium throws, while Allen will hit a few more home run balls. Burrow is a little easier to trust going into the fourth quarter as he brings his team to the brink of another Super Bowl trip.
Choose: Bengalis win 30-27.
Lock of the Week: #1 Chiefs (-8.5, 52 o/u) over #4 Jaguars
Saturday 4:30 p.m. ET, NBC
The Chiefs get a break by not having to face troublesome division rivals Chargers for a third time. Instead, it’s a coaching battle between Andy Reid and his former offensive coordinator and recent Super Bowl winner Doug Pederson.
The Jaguars’ defense thrives on big plays vs. consistently slowed teams vs. running and passing. Reid has developed a more methodical and versatile offense centered around Patrick Mahomes. The Jaguars will struggle to deal with various targets like Travis Kelce and Jerick McKinnon.
Trevor Lawrence will continue to be good at getting past an inexperienced secondary, and Jacksonville can also stay in the game by taking the ball to running back Travis Etienne Jr. to put it out onto the open field. You just won’t be able to match the firepower and execution of Mahomes in Arrowhead.
Choose: Chiefs win 34-17 and cover the spread.
No. 6 Giants at No. 1 Eagles (-7.5, 48 o/u)
Saturday 8:15 p.m. ET, Fox
Daniel Jones and Jalen Hurts have both emerged as dynamic dual-threat quarterbacks this season. Both are backed by traditional running plays led by former Penn State stars Saquon Barkley and Miles Sanders.
Jones passed with better protection despite limited receivers. But the Eagles’ pass defense is tough with their pressure and coverage, while the Giants have to deal with AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert.
Jones and Barkley will try to keep their team in the game, but the Eagles have strong home field advantage after a bye and will pull away in the second half.
Choose: Eagles win 34-24 and cover the spread.
Wildcard record straight up: 3-2
Wildcard Record vs Spread: 3-2
Season balance directly: 181-93
Season balance against the spread: 137-133